Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Maker's Mark Bill Samuels, Jr. Private Select Kentucky Bourbon

- $70
- 109 Proof
- 10 Maker's 46 staves
- Kentucky

A few years back when I visited the Maker's Mark distillery, I had just missed their distillery only release of their cask strength Maker's 46. I missed it by only a couple of weeks.  It was around that time that they started their Private Select program, and with one of their stave options being the Maker's 46 staves, it seemed almost inevitable that someone, somewhere, would use that to create their own Maker's 46 cask strength.

But, I never saw it anywhere. Four years later, though, Maker's released a cask strength Maker's 46 in their Generations of Proof gift box set sold at Costco, and shortly thereafter this Bill Samuels, Jr. release.  As I've mentioned before, there's no better whiskey than free whiskey, and this is no exception. I got this bottle as a Christmas gift from a good friend of mine, who is an even better friend as a result!

This bourbon had a really sweet smell. Upon opening the bottle I was immediately reminded of sugar cookies. It also had a crackery note, as well as a light black pepper spice to sort of counteract that sweet note. I also got a bit of a molasses note, and all of it together created a sort of pecan pie aroma. While it was somewhat all over the place, it all worked really well, and this smelled delicious.

Consistent with the nose, the flavor immediately hit my tongue with a nice mix of sweet and spicy, which I really enjoyed. It reminded me of a spiced chai tea, but with a bit of an added sweetness, like a sweet or flavored creamer was added.

Accordingly, I got a lot of vanilla, as well as a kind of rich chocolate fudge brownie flavor. It lacked any bitterness that would normally come with dark chocolate notes, but rather really leaned on the richness of the fudge note.

On the finish I got notes of black cherry and anise. These flavors added to the richness of the bourbon, as well as providing something beyond the "sweets" notes that predominated, and they gave a little bit more complexity to the bourbon. On later pours, these flavors seemed to come across as more of a sweet amaretto note.

This was a delicious bourbon, and I'm glad that not only did Maker's Mark release a cask strength Maker's 46, but that even as a limited release, it was still pretty readily available. I'd imagine that even now, with just a little bit of effort, one could find a bottle on the shelves to try.

Grade: A-

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